This year in New York, the protagonist of the great masters auction season is undoubtedly Sotheby’s, which, with its ‘Master Paintings Evening Sale‘, on February 1, offers several delicious opportunities for collectors. Over 25 of the rare and exciting works from the 14th to the 19th centuries are Italian, including a large gold background by the rare 14th century artist Agnolo Gaddi, the ‘Madonna Del Latte’ by Giovanni Del Biondo, the ‘Portrait Of Monsignor Cristoforo Segni’ by Diego Rodriguez De Silva Y Velazquez and  Pietro Martire Neri, and two incredible masterpieces: ‘Saint Margaret’ by Titian, and a pair of still lifes by Fede Galizia.

Tiziano Vecellio (Venice, 1485/90 – 1576), better known as Titian, depicted in his monumental painting, ‘Saint Margaret’, the story of Margaret of Antioch, a legendary virgin martyr who refused a proposal of marriage from the prefect of Antioch and was cruelly tortured and imprisoned as a result. While in prison, Satan, in the form of a dragon, devoured her,  but the cross she held in her hand caused the dragon to burst open allowing her to escape unharmed. In Titian’s composition – estimated between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 $ – Saint Margaret is a triumphant figure painted in a myriad of luminous bright colors against the darker ones of the rest of the canvas.

Fede Galizia (Milan, 1578 – 1630) was a pioneering female artist who played a fundamental role in the emergence of still life painting in Europe in the 17th century. Before turning 20 she was already internationally renowned for her remarkable devotional compositions, portraits, and still lifes. The pair of exceptional panels auctioned by Sotheby’s – estimated between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 $ – are ‘A Still Life Of A Porcelain Bowl Of Grapes On A Stone Ledge With A Medlar, Quinces, A Pomegranate And A Wasp’ and ‘A Still Life Of A Porcelain Basket Of Plums And Grapes On A Stone Ledge With Pears’. In both panels, Galizia has not only convincingly rendered the distinctive texture of each piece of fruit, she has also exquisitely described the fineness of the porcelain.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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